Monday, 28 April 2008

Freedom in Africa

This week has the most public holidays I've ever seen. Today (Monday) is "Freedom Day" to celebrate the end of apartheid. Then Thursday, May 1st, is Labour Day, which is apparently such an important holiday here that Friday is a continuation, another public holiday. Kinda weird, but who am I to complain? (Don't worry, though, Jeff - I'm working from home!)

But speaking of Freedom Day (and not to beat a dead horse, but...) here's an article I saw on the New York Times this morning. Not going into too much detail, the article is about the rising amount of violence being reported in Zimbabwe against those (mainly peasants) who supported the opposition party. There are roving gangs of government-supported youth thugs, as well as soldiers and police, beating and destroying the homes of people who were known to have been supporters of the MDC. Apparently, it's all part of "Operation Where-Did-You-Put-Your-X?" - a terror campaign to scare people away from voting in the probable upcoming run-off presidential election.

While South Africa is obviously not DIRECTLY to blame for this, it's leaders (specifically now President Mbeki) have completely refused to say a single negative word about Mugabe in public. While Mbeki claims to be using "quiet diplomacy" to try and help the situation, we can see how well that is working. There's just something the slightest bit hypocritical about proudly celebrating your own freedom while helping to prop up a neighbor's violent dictatorship (and no, the analogy with US foreign policy is not lost on me).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope so! - Jeff